Environment

Central Pollution Control Board Eases Norms for Sewage Treatment Plants

Sewage treatment plants coming up after June 2019 – except in major state capitals and metropolitan cities – need to only conform to 30 mg/litre of biochemical oxygen demand.

A notification by the Union Ministry of Environment this month abandoned the government’s 2015 proposal of a 10 mg/litre limit for oxygen demand (Bod), a marker for organic pollutants, in treated water. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has relaxed standards for upcoming sewage treatment plants (STPs), including those to come up on extremely polluted stretches of the Ganga.

A notification by the Union Ministry of Environment this month abandoned the government’s 2015 proposal of a 10 mg/litre limit for biochemical oxygen demand (BoD), a marker for organic pollutants, in treated water.

The notification states that STPs coming up after June 2019 – except in major state capitals and metropolitan cities – need to only conform to 30 mg/litre of BoD, reported the Hindu.

These include proposed STPs to treat sewage in stretches of the river downstream of Haridwar, including Kanpur and Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, the Hindu reported.

However, new STPs at state capitals have to cap BoD at 20 mg/litre.

Plants in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Andaman and Nicobar islands, Daman & Diu, Lakshwadeep and Dadra and Nagar Haveli also don’t need to conform to higher sewage-treatment criteria.

A senior CPCB official told the Hindu that the 10 mg criteria was impractical and required advanced technology that was too costly for most states.

Dipankar Saha of the CPCB, who was involved in setting the standards, told the Hindu, “We are very far from being able to achieve that kind of quality and we can only go about it in a phased manner”.

“It’s a step forward, because now we also have standards for faecal coliform, which has never been part of our standards,” he added.